There Is No NZT-48
I remember the first time I saw the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper. I was blown away with how much the character’s life started to turn around when he took the drug NZT-48. His life focus completely transformed.
I mean his life really turned around. Going from being a bum to a millionaire, he started exercising more, shaved his neck beard. He took a full 180!
Just from a pill.
What if we could do that too?
We can. There are pills out there that can make you feel energized and keep you awake for days.
I’m not here to talk about those, nor I do recommend those. The side effects definitely outweigh the short “high” that you get from popping in an overpriced pill. I’m hear to talk about how you can improve your focus, rid yourself of brain fog and start learning & comprehending at a higher rate.
What’s Holding Us Back From Limitless-Like Behavior
In order to understand how to improve concentration, we first need to know what’s in the way.
The good thing is a lot of it can be fine-tuned through diet and certain lifestyle habits. A lot of which, are outlined here on Tranquilized Mind. 😉
With that said, here are the most common reason why we experience the occasional brain fog, why productivity isn’t up to par, and why you find it hard to be a true and effective listener.
- Micronutrient Deficiencies: Being deficient in vitamins and minerals can be what’s holding you back. Every nutrient has some role in the brain’s mechanisms, so it’s important to eat a wholesome diet and supplement accordingly.
- Not Enough Sleep: I’ve covered this extensively and plan to continue. Sleeping is when solidification of the brain happens. What you learn during the day gets solidified into your memory. Do you know that during deep sleep, 50 percent of what was stored in your short-term memory ends up being stored in your long-term memory? (study 1). Better get those 8-10 hours of quality rest.
- Stress: Cortisol messes with the brain. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can increase brain fog by increasing free radical damage in the brain (study 2). Luckily, there’s a solution. With over 20 articles here on Tranquilized Mind, you can learn to lower your stress naturally.
- Inactivity: How often are you exercising versus how often are you active? How often are you going on walks? Standing instead of sitting? Activity has been shown to increase the endorphin count in the brain and provide more oxygen and glucose utilization. (study 3) Getting activity (not exercise) is crucial for healthy brain functioning.
- Gluten & PUFA’s: Gluten is inflammatory as hell to the body, so are Polyunsaturaed Fatty Acids (PUFA’s). I’d say the majority of the population can do for skipping the gluten, especially if you want your brain to start functioning on a higher level. Gluten breakdown products can end up binding to morphine and opiate recpetors, thus resulting in brain fog (study 4), (study 5). PUFA’s on the other hand, are unstable and result in oxidative damage which makes it hard to focus and be productive – they’re just so inflammatory to your central nervous system (study 6).
- Not Eating Enough Fats: Your brain at dry weight is composed of about 60 percent fatty-acids. Just something to consider… Also, there’s lots of research showing low-fat diets have been shown to slow down cognition (study 7), so make sure you’re getting enough dietary fats.
- You Avoid Cholesterol: Yeah, I know, “cholesterol is bad”! Well, I disagree. Dietary cholesterol is so darn good for you. Not too mention your liver has to synthesize it to keep you alive. It’s present in all of your cells, namely the membrane, allowing them to communicate to each other. It is also be found in the brain, responsible for a number of cognitive functions (memory, perception, learning) (study 8). Eat those eggs.
What Can We Do About It – How Can We Achieve Limitless-Like Behavior
Well, I can’t guarantee you’ll start winning the stock market game… However I can guarantee you’re ability to focus will greatly improve.
You’re ability to listen well in conversations will improve. You’re ability to get work done more efficiently will; whether it be studying for exams or even working on those TPS reports ;). Office space reference, anyone?
Along with the steps I’m about to lay out, make sure you are working on improving the “why’s” discussed above (micronutrient deficiencies, cutting gluten and PUFA’s out of your diet, sleeping better and more, etc.)
Without further ado, here is the definitive guide to improving your cognition, your focus, and productivity.
1. Learn To Become More Present
Being present to the moment is what all actors, musicians, and artists display. People of creativity have built up their presence. Becoming present to the moment will allow you to focus entirely on what the other person is saying, it will allow you to concentrate every part of your body on what you’re doing.
2. Cut Out The Distractions
This is a no-brainer. Whatever it may be; in a conversation, in class, working on a project – ditch the phone. Putting it away, airplane mode.
3. Use A Natural Nootropic
Like coffee. The caffeine content in coffee is enough to get your brain working at a higher level (study 9).
With that said, don’t overdo it. Use it in moderation, earlier in the day ideally.
Caffeine is linked with improving cognition, athletic performance, and mood enhancement.
4. Skip Breakfast
Only for a few hours, too long of a fast and going without food will cause cortisol to rise.
Short-term fasting on the other side can work magically with improving focus.
Why? Short-term fasting, also known as “Intermittent Fasting” increases a substance within the body known as Brain-Derived Neurothropic Factor (BDNF). A protein within the body that triggers growth of neurons and the hippocampus. Increased BDNF are linked to improved focus by improving neuroplasticity (just check this out).
Pairing a short fast into the morning with some coffee will allow you to get the work you need to get done efficiently and early in the day.
4. Start Fueling Your Brain
There are certain foods that can actually improve your focus on a biochemical level. A few of these are:
- Coconut Oil: The Medium Chain-Triglycerides (MCT’s) are converted into ketones in the body that are candy for your brain. Almost serving as instant fuel (study 10).
- Eggs: The choline content in the yolk of the egg will work wonders for improving your focus, your attention, and memory. (study 11)
- Berries: Namely blueberries since they have been proven to improve memory in humans (study 12). The polyphenolic compounds, such as antohocyanins are responsible for this.
5. Take Breaks, But Use A Protocol
Something like the pomadoro technique. I use this when I am studying for final exams at unviersity.
It goes something like this;
25 minutes of intense studying (or work), no distractions. Then a short 5 minute break, usually something as simple as grabbing a glass of orange juice. Then back to it; 25 minutes of focused study. After this, I usually take a 30 minute break allowing me to recharge.
During the 30 minute recharge, I like to go on walks and get outside or I’ll do some quick and regenerative meditation.
6. Use Binaural Beats To Prime Your Mind
I wish I knew about these when I played sports. Binarual beats provide brainwaves entertainment. They program your brain.
Using something as simple as brain.fm with alpha waves during work can make you power through the day at work. If you don’t want to pay, you can easily find binaural beats through YouTube.
Many of these were geared towards improving focus and productivity while working, studying, and even working out (those brain waves can get you in the zone).
If you’re more interested in improving your mood and focus while you’re interacting with others; learning to be present to the moment should be your go-to. They will start to acknowledge how good of a listener you are and will truly appreciate that. This paired with some caffeine from a natural source like coffee will immeasurably improve your mood, make you a happier and a more positive person.
Try it out, leave a comment below on what works for you – I’m sure the readers would love to hear, I know I would. 🙂
Thank you so much for reading! I hope you got some good information out of this! If you did, please share it on a social media platform or with three friends who you know suffer from brain fog; where they find it challenging to be able to focus at work, school, or are just poor listeners ;).
Until next time,